Digital Ruble Scammers Targeting Citizens in Multiple Russian Regions
Scammers have recently launched fraudulent schemes in various regions of Russia, targeting individuals who may not fully understand the workings of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). According to reports from media outlets across the country, scammers are sending emails to citizens using commercial and Central Bank logos.
The emails claim that if citizens do not convert their savings into digital rubles, they will lose everything. In another tactic, scammers pose as bank officials and inform individuals that they have been selected to participate in digital ruble trials. Both strategies aim to redirect individuals to phishing sites where personal and financial information can be obtained.
Vecherniy Vedmosti, a local media outlet, reported one such scam operating in the Sverdlovsk Oblast, a region encompassing the city of Yekaterinburg in the Ural Federal District. Residents of the Sverdlovsk Oblast have been receiving fake messages about fund transfers to CBDC format, with some requests even involving the collection of biometric data.
In addition to emails, scammers have also resorted to sending text messages and social media messages in the region, posing as officials from Multifunctional Centers (MFCs). MFCs are local centers that provide state and municipal services to residents. However, the region’s information policy department chief clarified that there is no procedure for converting residents’ conventional fiat funds into digital rubles, and there is no need to visit local MFCs or provide biometric data.
Similar fraudulent activities have been reported in Murmansk, a city in Northwestern Russia. Aleksey Andreev, the deputy manager of the Central Bank’s Murmansk regional branch, cautioned residents to remain vigilant and not fall victim to fraudsters who are taking advantage of the situation. Andreev emphasized that legitimate emails regarding the digital ruble would not be sent to citizens during the pilot phase. He warned individuals to be cautious with emails supposedly coming from banks, especially the Central Bank, as they are likely to be scams.
The real-world pilot for the digital ruble commenced on August 15, allowing 600 citizens in 11 cities to conduct transactions with the new digital currency. However, surveys have revealed that many Russians are confused about the release of the CBDC, with nearly one-third of respondents considering it some kind of scam.